Strait Line Variations III
Oil on Canvas
This fall was the 12th annual exhibition for VSA and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc’s Emerging Artists Program. The juried exhibition, In/finite Earth, explores the relationship between environmentalism, creativity, and disability. 15 young artists, ages 16-25 were chosen to share their artistic perspective when it comes to our natural world and their disability. The purpose of the exhibition is to award prize money to fund young artists as they begin their artistic career.
From depression, loss of vision, diabetes, or crohns disease, each artist showcased in the exhibition has a challenge to overcome. While expressing their artistic views on the natural world, the art sometimes focuses on the artist’s disability as the subject, while other times the message is more indirect. For example; Madalyne Marie Hymas has dyslexia, and her piece speaks of the difficulties she has faced coping with the social implications of dyslexic people being ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’, when in reality, she merely processes information differently and has some advantages. She has created an ode to her dyslexia and has gained empowerment by embracing it. On the other hand, the artist Sarah Langsam who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder created a piece composed of hundreds of pieces of wood arranged in a very meticulous and time consuming way. By channeling her energies into art making, she has created an intricate hanging wood piece that indirectly mirrors her disability.
To learn more about each young emerging artist’s story, visit the exhibition hanging in the Dillon S Ripley center until January 5th, 2014. For more information on visiting the In/finite Earth, go to http://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/Details/Infinite-Earth-A-National-Juried-Exhibition-for-Emerging-Artists-with-Disabilities-Ages-16-25-5079, and for information on the Emerging Artist’s Program, go to http://www.kennedy-center.org/education/vsa/programs/InfiniteEarth.cfm.